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No. 5 Duke women beat No. 19 Florida State 61-50

  • Associated Press
  • February 22, 2013 - 9:43 PM

DURHAM, N.C. - Florida State struggled to handle the energy from Duke's crowd as much as the intensity from Duke's defense.

The No. 19 Seminoles faltered under pressure in the second half of their 61-50 loss against the No. 5 Blue Devils on Friday night.

Florida State (20-6, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) led 24-20 before Duke blew open the game with a 26-4 run.

"We were stupid," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. "We just got caught up in the moment. I felt like that was the crowd. We just lost our composure on a few possessions, but credit Duke. It's not like they weren't there when we were stupid. They were definitely. But that's not who we are."

Alexa Deluzio scored 16 points to lead Florida State, which lost its sixth straight matchup with Duke. Natasha Howard added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Seminoles.

Elizabeth Williams had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Blue Devils (25-1, 15-0).

Chloe Wells added 15 points off the bench for Duke, which won its 37th consecutive home game against ACC competition.

The Blue Devils shot just 34 percent and had 22 turnovers as Chelsea Gray, the ACC leader in assists and steals, watched from the bench. She sustained a season-ending knee injury at Wake Forest on Sunday.

"It was a nice battle for our team," Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "We certainly can play a lot better. But I loved our grit and I loved our fight."

Wells hit a jumper from the free throw line to give the Blue Devils a 28-26 lead with 15:36 remaining, and they never trailed again.

Wells added a pair of 3-pointers, the second of which gave her team a 43-28 cushion with 9 minutes left.

"When Chelsea went down, that was a big blow for us," Wells said. "We were pressing in the beginning, and I knew that. So I just tried to come in and settle down and just play our game."

Florida State, which had not scored fewer than 62 points in a game all season, shot a season-low 29 percent from the floor. The Seminoles also committed 21 turnovers, giving the ball away on five consecutive possessions during Duke's decisive spurt.

"Duke is known for their defensive pressure, and it's tough to go against," Deluzio said. "But I thought we handled it fine. We didn't make plays down the stretch in the last two minutes when we needed to."

The Blue Devils stretched their lead to as many as 20 points, going ahead 52-32 on a layup by Williams with 6:40 remaining.

The Seminoles responded with an 11-0 run to cut the margin to 52-43 with 3:30 to play, and they moved within 55-48 with 1:28 remaining. Tricia Liston, however, made a pair of free throws with 1:12 left to restore Duke's lead to 10 points.

Duke led 20-18 at halftime following a defensive struggle between two of the best offensive teams in the country.

The Seminoles and Blue Devils both entered in the nation's top 10 in scoring and field goal percentage, but they combined for 26 percent shooting and 25 turnovers in the first half.

"We were feeling each other out," Semrau said. "It was extremely physical. I don't know. It just happens sometimes. It doesn't make for a very pretty game when both teams are missing, but certainly it was an exciting game."

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